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#WhatWeEat: Chef Kunal Kapoor on Tulsi, Haldi & Other Superfoods

What are superfoods? Celebrity Chef Kunal Kapoor explains with ways of including them in your diet.

4 min read
#WhatWeEat:  Chef Kunal Kapoor on Tulsi, Haldi & Other Superfoods
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Superfoods is a word that has been around for a while when it comes to health and well-being. In case you have been struggling to decode it, worry no more. Celebrity chef Kunal Kapoor breaks it down for us. He emphasises that superfoods is relatively a newer term and that it simply suggests ingredients that are supposed to give you health benefits.

Specific ingredients make certain dairy products and vegetables potent enough to be categorised as superfoods and hence different from general food items.
Kunal Kapoor

India’s Own Treasure Trove of Superfoods

According to Chef Kunal, Indian superfoods are mostly passed from one generation to another. For example, Indian mothers and grandmothers tea-concoction of tulsi, honey and black pepper to treat cold and sore throat, is a perfect example of superfoods put together.

Another example includes coconut oil, which has healing properties, as well as is great for application.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Several other examples include coconut oil, which has healing properties, as well as is great for application, and turmeric which is being used in lattes, ice creams and kulfi these days. Both of these products are great as food ingredients as well as for external application. He emphasises that though never documented, superfoods have always existed in India.


Chef Kunal’s Favourite Superfoods

He has a whole list which includes, coconut, chia seeds, amaranth (buckwheat), millet quinoa, oats and moringa.

I have two moringa trees in my home. As kids we were made to have moringa leaves in tea when we weren’t feeling well. We used to hate it as kids.
Kunal Kapoor

How to Include Superfoods in Your Diet

It’s important to keep the process easy and convenient, and to ensure that the food you’re eating isn’t compromised on its taste.

Turmeric is mostly associated with illness or injuries, but if you were to boil it and camouflage it with cardamom and saffron, you would be able to mask its strong taste. Similarly, blend it with ice cream or custard to incorporate it in your diet.
Kunal Kapoor
Blend turmeric with ice cream or custard to incorporate it in your diet.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Another great example, which is also the chef’s favourite, is moringa tea which can be blended in hot water.

Another good option is oats. They have no taste on their own - they can be made sweet or savoury. Hence they can be blended seamlessly in dosa or pancake batter without disrupting the base profile. Similar things can be done with cheela as well.
Kunal Kapoor

Buckwheat and oats can be mixed with your average wheat, and if done in the right proportions, you won’t realise their taste at all. Similarly, quinoa can be spread in salads, bowls of fruits, drinks and soups, because of its non-intrusive flavour.


How to Stay Healthy While Surrounded by Food ALWAYS?

“Health is always a function of eating right and working out - neither can work in seclusion”, maintains Chef Kunal.

First thing is to eat right and on time. I’m a big fan of both coffee and tea. So, when I travel, I always carry green coffee, Moroccan mint tea is also always in my bag. I sometimes drink as many as six cups of it. Even though I’m eating a lot of a particular product, I am making a wiser decision.
Chef Kunal
Chef Kunal supervising one of his culinary projects.
(Photo Courtesy: Kunal Kapur/Facebook)

Why do Chefs Like Dal Chawal so Much?

Chefs are “blessed people” and are always surrounded by “very good food,” accepts Chef Kunal. But it’s precisely because of this that monotony sets in.

It turns you off by the end of the day, this is the flip side of being around rich food always. Very simple, basic, shoddy looking, dressed down food is what you want. I’m finishing off most of my days with peeli dal and chawal.
Kunal Kapoor
‘I’m finishing off most of my days with peeli dal and chawal.’
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Diet, Cooking and Intelligent Choices

When it comes to cooking, it starts from the source. If you’re buying something fresh, it works the best, advises the culinary expert.

Buying and cooking fresh, and not eating or reusing food after a certain time are all important choices when we talk about cooking. This is already true of Indian food households. There might be some leftover from one meal to another, but we don’t cook for two-three days in advance, which is quite a western practice.
Chef Kunal Kapoor
‘Buying and cooking fresh, and not eating or reusing food after a certain time are all important choices when we talk about cooking.’
(Photo: iStockphoto)

At the same time, it’s also important to understand your body type and then pair it with a superfood. If almonds work for you, you could eat them daily.

Pick up what you enjoy eating, figure out how to prepare it and what health benefits it has.
Kunal Kapoor

Chef Kunal also mentions Saffola’s new range of Fittify products that attempt to combine gourmet and health. When everyone is already leading a hectic, over-active lifestyle, it’s not easy to incorporate superfoods. Fittify attempts to provide healthier, easy to prepare food choices that don’t compromise on taste, he concludes.

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Topics:  World Health Day   Diet   Kunal Kapoor 

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